Sen. Warner teases bipartisan bill requiring some companies to report cyber attacks

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U.S. Senator Mark Warner, Democrat of Virginia and Chairman of the Senate Select Committee connected Intelligence, holds a proceeding astir worldwide threats, connected Capitol Hill successful Washington, DC, April 14, 2021.

Saul Loeb | Pool | Reuters

Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., is readying a bipartisan measure that would necessitate immoderate businesses to study cyber incidents to the authorities truthful instrumentality enforcement tin rapidly get involved.

Warner previewed the measure during an Axios lawsuit astir cybersecurity, saying helium expects it to beryllium introduced successful the adjacent mates of weeks and thinks the wide enactment tin assistance it walk quickly. Recent cyber attacks against Colonial Pipeline, SolarWinds and meat supplier JBS person added a consciousness of urgency successful dealing with specified threats, which look to beryllium connected to radical successful adversarial countries similar China and Russia.

The measure would necessitate captious infrastructure businesses, national contractors and agencies to study cyber incidents to the government, Warner said, giving instrumentality enforcement and backstage assemblage partners the accidental to get progressive arsenic soon arsenic imaginable during an attack.

Warner expects the concern assemblage to beryllium receptive to the legislation.

"When we had this statement six oregon 7 years ago, the concern assemblage did not privation immoderate further mandatory reporting," helium said. "I deliberation they present recognize that they themselves are enactment successful jeopardy if they don't person mandatory reporting."

That menace was wide successful the SolarWinds attack, which was brought to the public's attraction aft cybersecurity steadfast FireEye voluntarily disclosed a hack by what it believed to beryllium a state-sponsored actor. Soon after, Reuters reported that hackers had accessed authorities bureau systems done SolarWinds bundle updates, saying it was related to the FireEye incident. SolarWinds later disclosed 18,000 customers were been impacted by the hack.

Warner said his measure would see constricted immunity for businesses successful transportation with the reports, which would beryllium kept confidential betwixt the authorities and backstage assemblage partners.

In summation to the legislation, Warner said the U.S. needs to reset planetary norms by showing that adversaries who perpetrate cyber attacks, adjacent erstwhile the attackers aren't authorities actors themselves, volition wage a price.

He besides said determination needs to beryllium a treatment astir however ransomware, oregon efforts to hack and hamper systems until a ransom is paid, should beryllium handled. As it stands, companies and different entities that are victims of specified hacks often wage ransoms to get their systems backmost online quickly, which Warner noted could astatine times magnitude to payments to sanctioned countries. At the precise least, helium said, companies should possibly beryllium made to disclose erstwhile they bash wage specified ransoms.

Warner noted that immoderate of the caller attacks could person been adjacent worse if the attackers decided to unopen down systems entirely.

"What I've urged radical to deliberation astir is if erstwhile the Russians went successful in the SolarWinds onslaught and got 18,000 companies they penetrated, if alternatively of simply exfiltrating information, they had decided to unopen down each those systems," Warner said. "That, to me, would beryllium adjacent to an enactment of warfare and it would person wholly crippled our economy. And my fearfulness is cyber is moving from much and much sophistication, it's moving from simply exfiltrating accusation to perchance extraordinarily destructive actions and we request to up our game."

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WATCH: How the monolithic SolarWinds hack went down